The Washington Post

Whitney Houston

Well, this is just sad, tragic, horrible. Celebrity life can’t be easy and for some it’s fatal. They found Whitney Houston in a bathtub at the Beverly Hilton, according to this story (comprehensive, but it relies rather a great deal on the phrase “it has been claimed.” Is that what you call an attribution?). One story said a hairdresser, a stylist and two bodyguards were in the room with her, and another story said she was traveling with a large entourage. It doesn’t sound like anyone was really looking out for her, though. The L.A. Times said she was acting erratically:

“The visibly bloated singer displayed erratic behavior throughout the afternoon -- flailing her hands frenetically as she spoke to Brandy and Monica, skipping around the ballroom in a child-like fashion and wandering aimlessly about the lobby. It was mentioned by a Grammy staffer that security personnel received calls of the singer doing handstands by the pool.”

Someone could argue that we are too celebrity-focused and shouldn’t focus on the death of just one (very famous) person when, for example, people are being slaughtered in Syria. But that’s not how we’re built. People like Whitney Houston aren’t strangers to us. This is like Michael Jackson all over again. The two biggest pop stars of the 1980s — right? — are gone. Very sad.


Another sad story, but one I am eager to read: Katherine Boo’s new book, “Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity.” Great piece here in TNR about it. It’s an unflinching look at extreme poverty in India. Kate is an old friend — she used to be here at the Post, and won a Pulitzer as an investigative reporter. She’s a special journalist, unusually empathetic, completely fearless, and deft at the keyboard. Janet Maslin says of this book that a comparison to Dickens is not unwarranted.


The one thriving part of the newspaper industry is Stories About The Washington Post. Here’s the latest.

Oh, and here’s a really sad (but hilarious) (but mostly sad) story about (mostly bad) writing on the web, by Michael Kinsley.

Joel Achenbach writes on science and politics for the Post's national desk and on the "Achenblog."


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